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RSL dismantle DC 3-1

Posted on 01 August 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake got back to winning Saturday night as they defeated struggling DC United 3-0 to extend their undefeated run at home to 21 games. Alvaro Saborío broke the deadlock just 13 minutes into the match and Robbie Findley scored an insurance goal late, before super-sub Nelson Gonzalez capped off the evening with a stunning chip in stoppage time. With the result RSL put to close an unimpressive month of July and look to the next couple of weeks as they continue to press league-leading LA Galaxy for the Supporters’ Shield.

RSL started off the match with a similar lineup to those that have produced lackluster results over the past couple of weeks, with the exception of Ned Grabavoy starting on the wing in place of veteran Andy Williams. Captain Kyle Beckerman continued his comeback from a foot injury, logging the full 90 minutes while appearing to be more comfortable on the ball.

DC United, on the other hand, entered the match with a pair of fresh faces in their lineup with recent acquisitions Branko Boskovic and Pablo Hernandez both making starting appearances. While these players added a fresh dynamic to the attack, particularly with the assistance of rookie standout Andy Najar, it was also apparent that the team is still trying to figure each other out, as they seemed passive on attack and struggled to link up in the final third.

Despite DC’s commitment to controlling the ball in the middle of the pitch, they continued to fall prey to quick RSL counterattacks, leading to RSL’s first goal. While on the break Findley was able to switch the ball quickly to the other side of the field, finding Grabavoy in perfect position just outside of the box. Though it appeared that it was close to being offside, Gabavoy played a perfect through ball to Saborío for a low rocket that blasted between the legs of keeper Troy Perkins. With the early goal RSL appeared to be in cruise control as DC hasn’t demonstrated much fight all season and the match was definitely going to open up more.

“Everybody knows it’s important, and oftentimes that first goal can be what makes or breaks the game for you,” noted RSL coach Jason Kreis. “It changes tactics. We have had a lot of teams that come in lately and sit. If we can’t score that first goal, then they are content to do that. Once you score that goal, they’ve got to open up. As we’ve seen before, we’re pretty dangerous when teams open up against us.”

Surprisingly the second half produced a much better reaction from DC, with substitutes Stephen King and Chris Pontius having an immediate impact on the speed and skill of their attack. This change almost paid immediate dividends as RSL appeared to be surprised by their sudden attacking prowess and often seemed confused in the back. This struggle and confusion made Findley’s late goal even more important, as it felt as if the match could swing the visitors way at any moment. Playing another quick counter, Williams found Findley completely open on the left side for a free run at Perkins, requiring just a simple low blast to the right to take a deflection and skip just inside the right post and put the match well out of reach.

The remaining 10 minutes was an open affair with RSL appearing conflicted between wasting time and taking advantage of the acres of open space they were given as DC flooded players forward. Earning his first time on the pitch since May 22, Gonzalez came on for the final five minutes of the match and instantly resolved RSL’s conflicting tactics, making an amazing run off of another Williams pass and placing a perfect chip over Perkins as he was trying to close down the run.

While the loss continues DC’s surprisingly poor form, they hope that the new additions will begin to gel as they still remain in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. RSL are in a very different situation, as they now stand only 6 points behind the LA Galaxy and hope to be back on a winning track. Beginning with next weeks match against the Kansas City Wizards, RSL will also start the busy part of the season, as they will play four matches in 11 days, toped off with the club’s first Champions League match at home against Arabe Unido. RSL, and Kreis in particular, have to be pleased with this result going in to this busy stretch as they hope to have a variety of players produce in the critical month of August.

REAL SALT LAKE (10-4-4, 34 pts.) v. D.C. UNITED (3-12-3, 12 pts.)
SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Alvaro Saborio 8 (Ned Grabavoy 1, Robbie Findley 3) 13
RSL — Robbie Findley 4 (Andy Williams 4) 79
RSL — Nelson Gonzalez 1 (Andy Williams 5) 94+

Misconduct Summary:
DC — Carey Talley (caution; Dissent) 17
DC — Branko Boskovic (caution; Dissent) 17
RSL — Chris Wingert (caution; Dissent) 58
DC — Andy Najar (caution; Dissent) 67

D.C. United — Troy Perkins, Devon McTavish (Jaime Moreno 78), Julius James, Carey Talley, Marc Burch, Andy Najar, Branko Boskovic, Clyde Simms (Stephen King 44), Santino Quaranta, Danny Allsopp (Chris Pontius 57), Pablo Hernandez.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy (Nelson Gonzalez 88), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 71), Will Johnson, Robbie Findley, Alvaro Saborio (Jean Alexandre 82).

Referee: Ramon Hernandez
Referee’s Assistants: Anthony Vasoli; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Attendance: 17,719 / Weather: Cloudy-and-87-degrees

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